COMPUTER BACKS CASPER AS GOLF’S TOP SHOTMAKER CAL BROWN THESE ARE GOLF'S TOP SHOTMAKERS LONGEST HITTERS 1. DeWitt Weaver 2. Jack Nicklaus 3. Marty Fleckman MOST ACCURATE DRIVERS 1. George Knudson 2. B. R. McLendon 3. Julius Boros BEST IRON PLAYERS 1. Billy Casper 2. Al Geiberger 3. Dan Sikes George Knudson BEST PUTTERS 1. Billy Casper 2. Tommy Aaron 3. Miller Barber Bruce Crampton BEST STROKESAVERS 1. George Archer 2. Bob Charles Roberto de Vicenzo BEST OVERALL SHOTMAKERS 1. Billy Casper 2. Julius Boros Gary Player IN HIS QUIET, unspectacular way, William Earl Casper has gained rec- ognition as one of the finest players the game has known. Though he may not compel attention to quite the degree that more colorful personal- ities do, there can be little doubt that, right now, Casper is professional golfs premier shotmaker. His record alone would so indicate — six 1968 tournament victories, more than any man since Arnold Palmer won seven in 1963, and well over $200,000 in official prize money. And now, lending further weight to the argument, computer analyses of play in more than half of the tournaments held in 1968 (see chart on pages 20- 21) show Casper as the most expert practitioner of the game, by a mile. The figures reveal him to be the most skilled iron player on the tour and, to no one’s surprise, its best putter. When all categories of shot- making are combined, he ranks as best overall, far ahead of the two closest challengers, Julius Boros and Gary Player. Casper ranks in the top 10 in virtually every shotmaking cate- gory, except that of length off the tee where his 251-yard average places him 65th. Significantly, Casper was also the steadiest player in 1968 with fewest number of holes (7.8) over par in each 72-hole tournament. The statistics were compiled by In- ternational Business Machines Corp. (IBM) which fed information on the performances of more than 225 players in over 22,700 rounds into a portable computer at 23 of the tour’s 41 events. The computer ranked in- dividual players in each of the cate- gories in the chart on the following pages, with the exception of the last four categories — putting, skill with irons, strokesaving and overall shot- making ability. These rankings were made by GOLF DIGEST, using raw data supplied by IBM. The formulas used to determine the results in these categories will be found at the bottom of the chart. The chart lists alpha- betically the 84 players selected on the basis of performances in all cate- gories, number of events entered and overall standing on the tour. The longest hitter on tour, based on measurements at two selected holes in each tournament, was young Georg- ian DeWitt Weaver. The Atlanta belter edged out Jack Nicklaus in average drive length, 276 to 275 yards. Behind these two came rookie Marty Fleckman with a 272-yard average. The compact Texan, how- ever, opened a few eyes when he averaged 302 yards on eight drives measured at the Buick Open, the longest four-round average of this, and quite possibly any other, year. Not one of the 25 longest hitters finished in the top 25 in driving ac- curacy, which is convincing evidence that even among the professionals striving for distance just increases one’s chances of reaching trouble. Four of the biggest hitters — Weaver, Fleckman, Bobby Cole and John Schlee — ranked near the bottom of other major shotmaking lists. Schlee and Fleckman, for example, missed the fairway nearly half of the time on par-4s and par-5s. The straightest drivers, as expected, were among the shortest off the tee. George Knudson was the straightest, followed closely by Benson Rayfield McLendon and Julius Boros, all put- ting over 79 per cent of their drives in the fairway. Al Geiberger hit every par-4 and par-5 fairway (56 out of 56) at the Lucky International, the best single tournament performance on this year’s tour. The shortest hitter of those players listed was Dave Marr, who averaged “just” 240 yards per tee shot, but he got it in the fairway 77 per cent of the time and ranked fifth in accuracy. These are changes from his performance of a year ago which do not appear to be accidental since Marr